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New statistics show that 13.2m people are watching free content in Australia, turning their backs on pay TV in record numbers.The top 40 most popular programs on Australian TV in the last month including the likes of Packed to the Rafters, Glee, The X-Factor winner announcement and Hamish and Andy’s Reministmas special, all attracted audience numbers in excess of 1.5 million, according to ratings released.

Viewers here are also watching more television compared to this time last year and rural areas watch more free programmes than their city counterparts, the study also reveals.

Children and teens also tuned in more frequently to pay TV than their elders.

More than three out of five out viewers watched programmes broadcast on the likes of ABC, SBS, Channel Ten and the Nine Network.

Viewers numbers also soared compared to this time last year, showing almost ten percent hike for Metro areas partly due to the increase in the cache of free options with the like of GO!, GEM, and 7Mate all getting in on the act.  

Paid for content suffered a 1.4 percent drop overall.

More Australians than ever are also now logging on to Internet TV and pre-recorded programmes, and watch around 19 hours of content from online per week, new research also showed this week.

Optus and Telstra are racking up their internet TV offerings with the onslaught of Google and Apple TV, meaning major headaches ahead for Foxtel, currently the dominant digital provider.

The TV war it seems is far from over but the battle has certainly begun.  

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